A group of Oregon State employees and students gathered March 14 to celebrate the success of the OSU Food Drive, which broke previous records.
“‘Wow’ seems inadequate, said Mike Gibson, Director of the Linn-Benton Food Share. “You have all done a tremendous job once again and set a new record for the eleventh year in a row.”
The annual drive, coordinated by Kate Sanders of University Events, is held in collaboration with the Governor’s State Employees Food Drive, encouraging state organizations to host food drives to benefit local food banks. OSU will now compete with other state universities and agencies, with results to come later this year.
“The results of the other universities have not yet been published,” says Sanders, “but, every year Oregon State brings in more pounds of food than any other university in the state.”
The totals this year are promising: the drive collected cash donations and food that amounted to just over 644,400 pounds of food, surpassing the initial goal by nearly 64,000 pounds. The event also increased its intake by more than 68,000 pounds from last year, a growth that was certainly welcomed by both Gibson and colleague Ryan McCambridge, coordinator of the Linn-Benton Food Share, who have faced a 12 percent increase in demand from last year.
“The contributions help to purchase the staples needed to fill the nutritious food boxes,” explained Gibson. “With your help we are able to put together boxes that give the recipients food that their bodies need, not just fill them up.”
The resources collected throughout the drive provide 25 percent of the Linn-Benton Food Share’s purchasing dollars for the entire year. In a single month, the Food Share provides food for more than 13,000 individuals, 40 percent of which are children. The food is distributed through 74 member agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, day care centers, shelter homes, and gleaning groups in Linn and Benton Counties.
“The success of the food drive speaks volumes about the strength of community here at Oregon State University,” President Ed Ray told the audience.
President Ray also celebrated the commitment of each of the food drive participants, noting dozens of ways that groups raised funds and collected food including bake sales, spaghetti feeds, silent auctions, and drop boxes.
“This project is excellent because not only does it work to eradicate hunger, it also demonstrates our commitment to each other and to our community,” Ray said.
A wide variety of departments, organizations, and colleges were honored for their participation in the drive efforts. The top earners in each category were as follows:
Off campus: Hatfield Marine Science Center, 3,646 pounds
Student Organizations: Students in Free Enterprise, 13,337 pounds
Team 1, 1-20 employees: Sixth Floor, Kerr Administration, 9,800 pounds
Team 2, 21-50 employees: Chancellor’s Office, 26,037 pounds
Team 3, 51-100 employees: Botany and Plant Pathology, 27,708 pounds
Team 4, 100 plus employees: College of Forestry, 56,962 pounds
~ Jessica Budge